RSA Group Reflections March 2024

Dear friends

The 19th century writer Anatole France once said, ‘it is human nature to think wisely and act foolishly,’ and this is very much the case with April Fools Day. We all know it’s coming, we all know we should ignore what we see in the news that morning, but still we often get caught. Also, many of us just can’t resist the temptation to try and pull a joke on others. To my mind, April 1 is a great example of those moments in life when emotion and mood trump rational thinking.

There is an interesting lesson here. No matter how skilled, knowledgable or successful you (or others) think you are, we are all ultimately wonderfully fallible, and can easily be tricked into believing and responding to, all sorts of strange things. Over confidence seems to be a mistake all of us are destined to make!

Thankfully, there is a simple antidote, available to everyone. Curiosity.

If we stay genuinely curious about the world we live and work in, we put ourselves in the best possible position to understand just how vulnerable we are to thinking wisely and acting foolishly. Curiosity plays a huge role in keeping the ego in check, and it’s a great way to expand your technical understanding of the world, while building better human relationships.

Curiosity is also one of those subtle parts of life in our industry that can easily fade away over time. It takes a lot of hard won experience to succeed in fresh produce – and one of the most common side effects of all that experience is a tendency for our curiosity levels to dip as we start to believe we’ve seen it all, and done it all too.

So, let’s use this April Fools Day to remember that none of us are immune to making poor decisions. And to remember that paying attention to staying curious may well be our only reliable line of defence in this regard.

As we move quickly into the second quarter of the year, let’s stay alert, and active, and interested in everything happening around us – most especially all those things we have grown so accustomed to that we risk no longer noticing them at all.

Best wishes
Jaco Oosthuizen